Do New York Museums Still Have a Hand in Shaping the Avant-Garde?

12/15/2009 2:04 PM |


The forecast for contemporary art exhibitions in New York in 2010 has slowly been coming into focus, with not terribly exciting shows planned at the Met, Whitney and, most controversially, the New Museum. Yesterday, Artnet looked at these exhibitions and more in an effort to determine which New York museum, if any, is playing an active role in shaping the art avant-garde in these increasingly Berlin- and Beijing-dominated times. Their answer might surprise you.

The most important museum for contemporary art in New York next year will not be the New Museum (despite seeming like a shoe-in for having “new” in its name), but the Guggenheim. After closing its current Kandinsky retrospective in January, the Uptown art temple will be commissioning and showing works by some of the most important and influential artists of the day, beginning with a show by conceptual artist Tino Sehgal (January 29 to March 10), who will leave the Gugg’s main atrium gallery completely empty for six weeks.

The fun continues with Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum, which runs February 12 to April 28, and includes leading artist like Lawrence Weiner and Ai WeiWei making various interventions in the Gugg’s iconic rotunda. That show will overlap with Haunted: Contemporary Photography / Video / Performance, from March 26 to September 6, which is a survey of works created since the 1960s by influential artists, many of whom are still active, like Stan Douglas, Gregory Crewdson, Richard Prince and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

The other major contemporary art show to mark on your calendar will be the latest installment of MoMA’s Greater New York at P.S.1, for which a roster has yet to be announced, but should provide an interesting counter-point to the Whitney’s already New York-centric Biennial. All in all a pretty subdued year ahead in contemporary art, with recession-times budgets forcing institutions to opt for tight group shows rather than single-artist commissions.